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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:25 am 
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Komen's Nancy Brinker: "I made some mistakes"

Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of leading breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, said Wednesday she "made some mistakes" surrounding her organization's widely criticized decision to defund Planned Parenthood.

"I made some mistakes," Brinker wrote in a letter to the Washington Post's Sally Quinn, in response to an open letter Quinn had posted on her blog about the incident.

"In retrospect, we have learned a lot and must now rebuild the trust that so many want to have in us, and respond to the many thousands who continue to believe in our mission and do what we do best: the funding of cutting-edge science and to bring that work to our communities to help the hundreds of thousands of women we serve each year," she wrote.

Komen has come under intense scrutiny since announcing last week that it would be pulling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grants to the women's health organization Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening and preventative education.

The foundation reversed the decision after only a few days, but was roundly criticized for the way it handled the matter and is now trying to rebuild its reputation as a premier charity for women's health issues.

Komen initially defended the move as part of an ongoing effort to exact "stronger performance criteria for our grantees," a move many saw as way to defund Planned Parenthood.

Karen Handel, a top Komen executive and a vocal pro-life advocate who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of Georgia, resigned from the charity after facing criticism for pushing the short-lived policy.

"I've seen many commentators suggest that the swift reaction to our decision is an indicator of something larger and more dangerous in our society -- culture wars, if you will, or the feeling that women's health care is being sacrificed on the altar of political ideologies," Brinker wrote in her letter. "If I have learned nothing else from our experience of the past week, it is that we in women's health organizations must be absolutely true to our core missions, and avoid even the appearance of bias or judgment in our decisions."

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162- ... -mistakes/


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:17 am 
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Komen backlash leaves Race for the Cure scrambling to limit damage

Every month, somewhere in America, people swath themselves in pink, lace up their running shoes and take part in the Race for the Cure, the world's largest and most successful breast cancer awareness and fundraising event. Since the first race in Dallas in 1983, 1.6 million participants have pounded round the 5km courses in a series which now spans four continents.

But now there are growing fears that the race series, and the millions of dollars it raises, may be one of the most visible casualties of the backlash that has engulfed the organisation that runs it, the Susan G Komen for the Cure Foundation, since it decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood, the country's leading reproductive healthcare provider – a decision, critics say, that was made under pressure from anti-abortion activists. Planned Parenthood is a target of pro-life lobbies because some of its clinics offer abortions.

A week has passed since Komen was forced to reverse that decision and issue a public apology. But that failed to silence the critics, so on Tuesday, Karen Handel, Komen's senior vice-president and the apparent architect of the defunding decision, resigned. Yet that, too, has done little to restore public confidence in the organisation.

The brand that Komen's founder Nancy Brinker has spent 30 years building, promoting and aggressively protecting lies in tatters, tainted by a decision widely perceived as political and which, had it been carried through, would have halted breast cancer screening programmes for uninsured women who would otherwise not have access to such care.

How Komen will ever recover is a question many are asking. There are those who feel it won't be fixed until Brinker and her entire board resigns.

But for the 120 local groups affiliated with Komen, those that make the local Race for the Cure events happen, there was a more pressing concern. How would they repair the damage to the organisation in their own communities and persuade them to continue with the support that is vital to breast cancer detection, treatment and research there?

The Guardian has spoken to affiliate groups and supporters across the country. Most were unwilling to comment publicly, but they spoke in emotional terms and with great sadness about their uphill struggle to rebuild trust.

Logan Hood, executive director of Komen Aspen, one of 19 Komen affiliates that gave grants to Planned Parenthood's local breast screening programmes, said: "There has been damage to the network. We definitely feel the trust has been broken. All the affiliates are having a hard time with that. There are affiliates who have races coming up and I'm hoping they are going to get through it. We are trying to be supportive of one another."

It has emerged that, when the policy to introduce new funding rules were discussed by Komen in December, they were warned against it by some affiliates. Both the Aspen and Denver groups argued for waivers from the new rules because of the important role of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains role in battling breast cancer in Colorado.

According to Komen's Denver affiliate, the grant to local Planned Parenthood clinics accounted for one fifth of the breast cancers discovered through the organisation in the city. A reported 84% of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountain patients have no health insurance and 62% live below poverty line. Yet only Denver was granted an exception.

Hood said: "We have been funding them for 17 years in Colorado. It was a lot for our affiliate to take a stand, but we believe that the women in our state are the highest priority. Western Colorado is a very rural community. There are not a lot of options for poor women to have breast cancer screening."

Asked if more needed to be done by Brinker and the board, Hood would only say: "They need to figure out what's going on. We are part of a larger network and unfortunately we were an afterthought."

Eve Ellis, a major fundraiser and former board member of affiliate group Komen New York City, is one of several prominent individuals to cut their ties with the group following the backlash against it. She called for Brinker and the entire board, including Brinker's son, to go, so that so that "I and the millions of people who have walked and talked for Komen can trust again."

Ellis, who does not believe the funding withdrawal was not political, said that Komen was warned about its impact among local groups. "This is a decision that was deliberated on," she told the Guardian. "They had people from the affliliates saying "Don't do this, this is not a good decision."

"Komen does the most wonderful work," she continued. "There is no other organisation like it. To say, 'We want them out of business' would do us a terrible disservice. But we care about good governance of non-profits."

Even now, there are still question marks over whether Planned Parenthood programmes will be funded. While Komen altered its rules that would have rendered Planned Parenthood ineligible for future grants, it has never said it will fund them.

Shawn Elmore, development director at Komen's Phoenix affiliate, said he believed the organisation still needed to get to the bottom of what happened but that resignations by Brinker and the board were unnecessary.

"HQ and the affiliates need to have a conversation about how it happened and how to move forward and how to make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.

"I wouldn't want any more heads to roll. It would be a mistake to lose Nancy. In the 1980s when she began, no newspaper would even print the words 'breast cancer'. People and organisations make mistakes. You never want to be judged on the one worst mistake of your life."

A number of Komen affiliates contacted by the Guardian said they were focusing on cleaning up the mess rather than dwelling on the decision. But the hurt was never far from the surface.

One spokeswoman said: "We have thousands and thousands of supporters and we have been doing life saving work for years. I hope people can forgive us and move on."

Komen's management of the crisis, in which it initially ignored criticism and offered contradictory explanations of its defunding decision, before reversing the policy altogether, is being held up an example of how not to conduct crisis management.

There is currently a vacancy for a PR director, which may explain the failure to respond to the situation sooner.

Sarah Durham, founder and principal at Big Duck, a communications firm for non-profits, said: "The situation is very sad. They mishandled the crisis significantly in the beginning and I don't think a resignation alone will resolve that."

She points out that it is not the first time Komen has been involved in such a significant gaffe.

In 2010, Komen decided to partner with Kentucky Fried Chicken, sparking a "what the cluck" campaign against it by Breast Cancer Action, an education advocacy group. Among the risk factors associated with breast cancer is a high fat diet and obesity.

"The responsibility lies ultimately with Nancy Brinker," said Durham. "I wouldn't say she should step down, but I have a lot of reservations about her leadership."

"Komen is a brand machine and they do a great job with it. They are used to driving the message. But they have to get more in touch with the grassroots conversation. They need a responsive team. Whether or not it was a political decision, it was perceived as a political decision. If everybody thinks it's a chicken, even if it's not a chicken, you should address the fact that people think it's a chicken."

The furore over the Planned Parenthood decision has also brought heavy scrutiny to other aspects of Komen's operations. Critics, particularly within the research and philanthropic communities have questioned how it spends its money and its scientific approach to some issues.

This week, a report by Reuters revealed that the charity, which defines its mission as finding a cure for breast cancer, has cut by nearly half the proportion of fund-raising dollars it spends on grants to scientists working to understand the causes and develop effective new treatments for the disease.

Angela Wall, of Breast Cancer Action (BCA), described the controversy as a "tipping point" which has supporters asking deeper questions then they had before. Wall cites people on her own facebook page who have raced or walked for Komen vowing "never again" and sending their T-shirts back.

"People are starting to say: 'What's happening with the money, what's happening with breast cancer?' We are getting calls from people saying: 'Is the Pink Ribbon working for people or are people making money from women dying of cancer?'"

Komen needs to be more transparent and accountable "from top to bottom" said Wall. "It was a highly regrettable decision. It was always clear that the people who were going to suffer were the uninsured community, women of colour, the Latino community."

During the early 1980s, breast cancer death rates for white and African American women were about equal, but during 2001-2005 African American women had a 37% higher death rate. Komen supporters are worried that some of the very women who need breast cancer screening the most may lose out.

Kavita Das, a former programme director for Komen NYC, who now works for racial justice group Applied Research, said she was concerned that if people pull out of the Race for Life locally, then the funds will dry up and programmes run by the affiliates will disappear.

Das said: "My greatest worry is about the people most impacted. Women of colour, of low incomes. They were before the controversy and they will be after the controversy. What is the plan that these women will continue to get outreach, screening, treatment and support post-treatment?"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/fe ... sfeed=true


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:24 am 
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Test for Komen charity looms at next Race for the Cure

(Reuters) - Rebecca Reza has participated in fundraising races held by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer charity, for the past five years. She planned to sign up for the next Race for the Cure in El Paso, Texas, with her cousin.

But Reza is now hesitating to don Komen's signature pink baseball cap and join breast cancer survivors and their supporters in the march on February 19.

The race will be the first such charity event anywhere for Komen since an uproar erupted last week over its decision to cut funding to women's health organization Planned Parenthood, thrusting it into the middle of the nation's polarizing debate on abortion.

Komen reversed course after an outcry on social media sites as well as among its own affiliates, and from people who support both groups. That reversal in turn drew fresh criticism from Komen supporters who oppose the abortion services some Planned Parenthood centers provide.

In announcing the policy change, Nancy Brinker, who founded the charity in 1982 to honor her sister, Susan, who died of breast cancer acknowledged the organization had "made mistakes." And, its senior vice president for public policy and chief lobbyist, Karen Handel, a Republican who once ran for governor of Georgia on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood stepped down.

The true test over how deeply the controversy has affected Komen's grassroots base begins with the race in El Paso and those that follow as supporters on both sides of the abortion issue consider whether to show up. Five events are scheduled for March and 12 for April, according to the Komen website.

"We've kind of put everything on hold - we haven't decided whether to race yet," said Reza, whose grandmother died of breast cancer in 1993. "It probably won't make a big difference to them, but for us personally, I don't feel comfortable paying money into this event when all of this is going on."

She said Planned Parenthood, which provides birth control, abortions and other health services, "is a huge necessity" and that it's still unclear to her whether their clinics will receive money from Komen.

Komen's more than 140 races worldwide every year help drive nearly $420 million in donations of all kinds annually. Such sums make Komen a powerhouse among private breast cancer charities, allowing it to fund education efforts, research and screenings.

Chris Berry decided to sign up for the El Paso race after "a brief moment of concern."

His hesitation disappeared at the thought of his great-uncle, who is suffering from breast cancer and has had a rough time with chemotherapy. It is a rare occurrence among men, with the ratio of female to male breast cancer estimated at 100 to 1.

"He's the reason I'm doing it," said Berry, who posted signs in his family's restaurant, The Good Luck Cafe, seeking participation from customers and employees. "We're trying not to get caught up in the politics of it."

Last year, about 12,000 people registered for the El Paso event and 20,000 people showed up, including family members and supporters of race participants, Komen's local affiliate said.

The event - which takes place at a stadium where the El Paso Diablos play minor league baseball - raised more than $500,000 in individual contributions, sponsorships and entry fees. About 75 percent of that went to help local organizations provide health services, screening and treatment to underserved and uninsured people. The rest paid for breast cancer research.

WAITING TILL THE LAST MINUTE

Komen's races attracted 1.6 million participants last year, often with school, neighborhood and workplaces organizing teams of women and men of all ages, and its pink ribbons are a well known symbol of support for the fight against breast cancer.

Komen officials at the organization's headquarters declined to comment on whether they expect to see the same enthusiasm for their events in the wake of the very public controversy.

But Komen officials in El Paso expect the same number of participants to show up this year as last. They said it is hard to know most of the city's participants register in the final two weeks rather than signing up online in advance.

Eight days ahead of the race, the affiliate had raised 28 percent of its $85,000 goal for individual fundraising, according to its website.

Stephanie Flora, executive director of Komen's El Paso affiliate, and other Komen officials are busy visiting local malls to register people for the race.

"We're really hopeful that people will continue to come out" and that they'll "really remember that it's for the uninsured men and women in the community that need these services," Flora said.

In El Paso, a heavily Catholic and Hispanic border city of almost 650,000 people, nearly a quarter of residents live below the poverty level, according to Census data.

Flora said the controversy did not have a local flavor because El Paso does not have a Planned Parenthood clinic. Planned Parenthood's six El Paso clinics, which did not provide abortions, closed in 2009 because of the economic downturn, according to the El Paso Times.

For El Paso participants the event is deeply personal and far removed from abortion politics.

It is about their memories of loved ones lost, their own battles with the disease, and the goals of finding a cure and raising money for health care services in a community where more than one in four residents lack health insurance.

This year's race, El Paso's 20th, will be Janie Shockley's 20th as well. During the early years, she participated in honor of a sister-in-law, a survivor. Along the way, Shockley herself became a survivor.

"All the ladies in pink I saw all the years at the race - never did I think I was going to be one of those, but that's what happens in life sometimes," said Shockley, a former board member of the El Paso Komen affiliate.

For Elizabeth Zaborowski, who plans to attend the race, the key moment comes in a ceremony afterwards, when she and others who have suffered from breast cancer gather in groups according to how long they've survived.

"When you're walking toward the stage," Zaborowski said, "you just feel the happiness, the joy, the sadness, all at once."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/ ... I820120211


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:16 am 
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Cancer activists lament dust-up

Here’s how much Melinda Moseley cares about supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure: She completed the organization’s three-day, 60-mile fundraising walk last fall, even though she had been hit by a car while training for it.

Marguerite Lewis (left) accompanies her daughter, Jennifer Lewis, as she gets a shot from medical assistant LaDonna Simpson at Georgia Cancer Specialists' Northside office in Sandy Springs on Friday. Jennifer Lewis said she worries the dust-up between Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen for the Cure may be a setback for the well-known group in the fight against breast cancer.

Moseley would not be denied the chance to walk alongside the men and women with whom she shared a deep and urgent sense of mission: raising breast cancer awareness.

For her, the recent dust-up with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America felt “like a kick in the gut.”

She’s long supported both organizations, but felt compelled to choose between them — a choice that hurt.

“I don’t know if I want to be associated with them [Komen] right now,” said Moseley, 48, an attorney who lives in Virginia-Highland. “I didn’t want people to see my pink ribbon and affiliation with Komen as saying that I think what they did with Planned Parenthood was the right thing to do.”

Planned Parenthood is the country’s largest provider of reproductive health services, which include contraceptives, abortions and other services. For years, the Komen foundation has given money to Planned Parenthood to perform breast examinations and breast health education at 19 centers around the United States, none in Georgia.

Last year, Komen gave $680,000 to Planned Parenthood. The foundation decided to discontinue future funding, citing a recently revised policy that forbids the organization from underwriting any agency under government investigation.

U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., is investigating whether Planned Parenthood violated law by using federal funds for abortion services.

When news of Komen’s decision got out nearly two weeks ago, it touched off a furious debate. Some cheered Komen’s stance; others accused Komen of playing politics. Much of the discussion took place on the Internet, where people found themselves again divided over one of the country’s most electric issues, abortion.

Talk also focused on former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, a vocal opponent of abortion who joined Komen last year as senior vice president for public policy, as the person responsible for discontinuing the funding.

The uproar continued until Komen announced on Feb. 3 that it would revise its policy. Planned Parenthood would remain eligible to apply for future grants.

Handel has since resigned, saying politics never influenced her work.

Since then, thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans who feel personally invested in Komen and its mission are looking at the organization in a new light. Regardless of their opinions about Planned Parenthood or how the two organizations handled the dispute, many said Komen’s bright and hopeful image has been sullied. For them, pink has become the color of dillusionment.

“I’m glad [Komen] reversed, but I wish they’d quit lying about it not being political. Can’t support them again unless they do,” tweeted Ashley Mavis of Roswell.

“Never another dime from me. Disappointed doesn’t say enough,” tweeted Eve Trader of Atlanta, after Komen changed course on Feb. 3.

Jennifer Lewis, who is actively battling breast cancer, wasn’t sure how to feel about the debate. For people like her, Komen has been the most widely recognized cheerleader in the fight against cancer. She worries that Komen’s goal to beat the disease may have suffered a setback.

“I think that’s somewhat tarnished Susan G. Komen’s reputation in the eyes of some people,” she said.

It did for Jean Witcher of Stone Mountain. When she learned that Komen was so extensively involved in funding other organizations, Witcher was surprised — disappointed, too.

“I would really be upset if I gave a fair amount of money to Komen and found this out,” said Witcher, 68. “I’d say: ‘Where is my money going?’”

Janet Beebe, founder of the statewide nonprofit Breast Cancer Survivors Network, stewed with indignation when Komen reversed itself, allowing Planned Parenthood to apply for future grants.

Beebe, a 28-year breast cancer survivor, believes the decision will have an adverse impact on Komen’s future fundraising.

“They [Komen] do some good things,” said Beebe, who acknowledged that her organization unsuccessfully applied for a Komen grant. “But on this one, they messed up.”

Komen did the right thing in reversing its decision, said Leola Reis, vice president of external affairs at Planned Parenthood Southeast Inc., located in Atlanta.

Komen and Planned Parenthood “have a lot of overlap in services,” Reis said, noting that Planned Parenthood has been participating in Komen fundraisers for more than a decade. “We’re ready to move forward in providing health care.”

The flap has distracted attention from breast cancer awareness and prevention, said Chris Cox, a breast cancer survivor who volunteers with people undergoing cancer treatment.

“I think this has gotten totally blown out of proportion,” the Dunwoody resident said.

“The fact of the matter is that it’s highly important for women to realize their risks,” she said. “All this other stuff needs to be defused.”

Despite the controversy, Cox said she doesn’t plan on tossing her Komen gear. “I understand its higher purpose.”

http://www.ajc.com/news/cancer-activist ... 46845.html


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:52 am 
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Susan G Komen's 'pinkwashing' problem a black mark on charity

Few charitable groups have been more successful in so thoroughly associating a colour with a cause than Susan G Komen for the Cure has for breast cancer awareness.

But the backlash against the charity for its move to defund Planned Parenthood has re-ignited the wider debate over "pinkwashing" – the act of a company or organisation claiming to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, despite producing or selling products that are linked to the disease.

Although by no means the worst offender, Komen itself has been behind some of the most contentious products sold in the name of breast health:

• Last year Komen was forced to reformulate its "Promise Me" fragrance after another breast cancer charity found it contained toxic and hazardous chemicals.

• In 2010 Komen aligned its brand with fast-food chain KFC for a "Buckets for the Cure", triggering a PR disaster. Among the risk factors associated with breast cancer is a high-fat diet and obesity.

• A partnership with Yoplait yoghurt two years earlier was similarly criticised as the product contained Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, associated with cancer. The company has since removed the rBGH from yoghurts.

But the most provocative example of pinkwashing yet had nothing to do with Komen and came in the form of a pink handgun. Discount Gun Sales came up with the "Walther P-22 Hope Edition" shooter a few weeks ago, falsely claiming it was in a partnership with the breast advocacy charity. The company has since put a disclaimer on its website, apologising for the mistake and saying that it will give $50 from each $499.99 pistol sold to the American Cancer Society instead.

Gayle Sulik, sociologist and author of "Pink Ribbon Blues", said pinkwashing is only the beginning of how "breast cancer culture" undermines women's health.

"Komen is the largest and is held up as the gold standard. But it is just part of it," she said. "There's the conflict of interest, with regard to the companies associated with pharma and diagnostic tools, who stand to benefit from treatment. Then 'pinkwash', where products might be carcinogenic, to unhealthy products like M&Ms. I've even heard of Pub Crawls for the Cure. It's part of the general culture."

Sulik, a researcher at the University at Albany Department of Women's Studies. said that the culture has caused a split in advocacy groups between those focussed on awareness and education, like Komen, and others.

Groups such as Breast Cancer Action, the advocacy group behind the "Think Before You Pink" campaign a decade ago, and the National Breast Cancer Coalition, which launched it's 20:20 campaign to end the disease with a slogan "We need something more than hope", are trying to move the debate away from awareness and onto research and action that could prevent the disease.

"Komen is under investigation by the public. So far I don't see the public being very forgiving. There is so much product placement, so many huge events," said Sulik. "It will be interesting to see what happens next."

Angela Wall, of Breast Cancer Action, said: "There has been a consciousness-raising among health advocates that this epidemic has been going on for 40 years. Billions of dollars have been spent and nothing is affecting the death rates."

But charity watchdogs say they are powerless to interrogate companies that put the pink ribbon on their products, because charities do not need to publicly reveal their donors or how much donors give.

Sandra Miniutti, of Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit group, said: "Donors need to be careful before they hand over their hard-earned cash."

Tips on the group's site advise purchasers to seek out the label and look for how much is donated to a charity.

Miniutti said that sometimes an organisation puts a cap on its donations, but people continue to buy the product, which means that the money bypasses the charity into the firm's pockets. However, she said that the public was becoming "more savvy about the relationship – you saw that in the backlash with Komen and KFC."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/fe ... sfeed=true


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Woman’s Cancer Scam Prognosis: Five Years in Jail

A Philadelphia woman who told the court she had life-threatening cancer in order to avoid prison has a new prescription, five years in a jail cell.

Leann Moock was sentenced Thursday to almost five years in prison by a federal judge for an elaborate scam she concocted to delay reporting to prison in 2007 for her role in a separate scam involving stealing money from elderly bank customers.

The 35-year-old’s prison evasion scheme began in August 2007, the day before she was supposed to start a four-month prison sentence, prosecutors say.

Moock, according to prosecutors, sent an email to her attorney saying that she had learned from a doctor’s visit that same day that she had a mass in her stomach that needed to be treated. She continued by telling her attorney and later the presiding judge in her case that the mass was cancerous and she was being treated with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Moock obtained fake telephone and email accounts and fabricated letters from her purported cancer doctor on letterhead from the Temple University Hospital where she said she was being treated, according to court documents.

“I’ve seen patients fight and win, but more times than not, when the cancer is this advanced and not responding to treatment, it is a losing battle,” one letter, dated Jan. 12, 2008, and obtained by the Philadelphia Daily News read.

Moock’s three-year scam ended in October when she was arrested and placed in federal custody.

Before that, however, she gave birth to a child, had a breast augmentation and a tummy tuck. She also obtained more than $56,000 in bank loans for herself by stealing her father’s identity while she was on the lam, the Daily News reports.

Moock pleaded guilty in November to obstruction, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2 ... s-in-jail/


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:24 am 
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Heartless charity shop volunteer stole from the till - then boasted of her crimes in a daily diary

A charity shop volunteer who stole from the till was caught after recording the thefts in her diary, a court heard yesterday

Susan Barcock, 52, took more than £2,000 from the Cancer Research UK shop and boasted of her crimes in her daily entries.

And she was rumbled when police searched her home as they investigated another fraud and discovered the record of the cash she took.

On January 18, 2010, Barcock had written: “Good day in shop £124, £80 for me oh yes!”

One entry read: “Bloody good day at shop £213. Man brought bag of coins in – £75 for shop £35 for me, well I had to count it.”

On April 13, 2008, she wrote: “£37 for shop £15 for me hee hee.”

And in another entry she bragged: “A good day as far as I’m concerned. £50. But not so for shop.”

The thefts from the store in Warrington, Cheshire, were carried out between June 2008 and January 2010, the court heard.

Martin McRobb, prosecuting, said her crimes were only discovered because she had kept a record of them.

He told Warrington crown court: “Had it not been for her personal diary entries which formed all the evidence, there would have been no evidence against her.

"She aroused suspicion while she was at this particular place of work but nothing had been proven.

“In interview when confronted with her diary, the defendant could do little more than admit to the police that she had stolen this money.”

The court heard Barcock was of previous good character and had a managerial position before she lost her job in 2006.

Natalia Cornwall, defending, said: “She fully recognises the seriousness of this offence. She has led an honest lifestyle but it wasn’t until 2006 that this defendant started to have difficulties in her life.

“She is extremely sorry for what she did.”

Barcock was arrested after taking £6,000 from a vulnerable 78-year-old widow who was still grieving for her husband.

The OAP called police after noticing withdrawals from her bank account she did not remember making.

The culprit had previously taken £2,200 cash from the pensioner’s home but, although police were alerted, they initially dropped the investigation.

Barcock, from Warrington, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft and one of false representation.

She was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

Barcock was also given a six-month curfew from 6pm to 6am, a 12-month supervision order and was told to pay £125 compensation to each victim.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ch ... rds-756195


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:25 am 
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Who braved the shave: Locals lose their locks for cancer

JO Goodwin, pictured here at the mercy of hairdresser Amie Kelly, was among those who lost their locks to raise money to help people with leukaemia.

Jo had her head shaved at the Telegraph Hotel on Saturday night.

ABOUT eight people sacrificed their hair for a good cause at the World’s Greatest Shave event at the Telegraph Hotel on Saturday.

One of the organisers, Jo Goodwin, said the evening was “absolutely fantastic”.

“We raised about $1,338,” she said. “It was a really good night.

“We had donations from a lot of businesses and raised quite a lot of money through raffles.”

The Leukaemia Foundation announced it had raised $9 million so far from fundraising .

World's Greatest Shave raises funds for the Leukaemia Foundation's work in providing free practical and emotional support to people with blood cancer and their families, as well as investing millions in research.

Since 1998, more than a million people have shaved or coloured their hair, raising in excess of $120 million.

http://www.tenterfieldstar.com.au/news/ ... 94756.aspx


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Monday will be Purple Day for Epilepsy

March 26 has been declared Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness in Newfoundland and Labrador by Premier Kathy Dunderdale.

There are 10,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador living with seizures, and the day is a way to raise awareness about the illness, according to an Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador news release.

The day began in 2008 at a Nova Scotia school when Cassidy Megan, 9, asked for a special day at her school following her epilepsy diagnosis.

The girl was scared of what was happening to her, and thought the special day would help others also dealing with epilepsy.

The day grew to include other cities and provinces, and Purple Day for Epilepsy has now grown in to a global event, states Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador.

The lack of understanding and stigma surrounding epilepsy can be hurtful to those suffering seizures. The proclamation will help to spread awareness and promote acceptance of epilepsy, states the release.

http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2 ... Epilepsy/1


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:23 am 
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Breast cancer fundraising lags after abortion dispute

(Reuters) - U.S. breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure is feeling a pinch on donations following a controversy over its funding for Planned Parenthood, a leading provider of birth-control and abortion services.

A few of the group's flagship "Race for the Cure" fundraising events have failed to meet targets, a Komen spokeswoman said on Friday. Separately, at least five of the group's leaders have stepped down in recent weeks.

Komen, the world's biggest breast cancer charity, provoked uproar over its decision to cut - and later restore - funding for Planned Parenthood, a leading provider of birth control, abortion and other women's health services. Komen supports Planned Parenthood's efforts to provide access to breast-cancer screening.

The initial move to cut Planned Parenthood's funding became public in late January, and was viewed by some Komen supporters as a capitulation to political pressure from anti-abortion groups. Within a few days, the charity reversed course.

Komen said it had had problems meeting targets in about half of the five fundraising events it has staged since the blowup.

One in Lafayette, Louisiana, raised less than $400,000, below its $500,000 goal, and another, to be held in Fort Worth, Texas, is also struggling.

Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun said the lower numbers appeared to stem from the controversy over Planned Parenthood.

"We're seeing challenges for races in some of our markets," Aun said. "People are concerned and they've decided not to help Komen. That's unfortunate because it affects women whose lives we're trying to help save."

FIVE MORE OFFICIALS STEP DOWN

Komen has said that in 2011 it screened 700,000 uninsured women for breast cancer, and it spends 83 cents of every donation dollar on research or community services.

Five Komen executives or directors have recently announced they are leaving the organization, although a group insider cited personal reasons for most of the resignations.

Nancy Macgregor, who has been with Komen since 1990, is leaving her role as vice president of global networks in June. Joanna Newcomb, director of affiliate strategy and planning, and Katrina McGhee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, are also stepping down.

Aun said the chairman of Komen's board, LaSalle Leffall would resign his position to focus on a new role as provost at Howard University, though he will remain on the board. His replacement will be Robert Taylor, a Dallas attorney who had retired as Komen's founding board member in 2010.

Of the group's local leadership, Chris McDonald, head of the Komen affiliate in Oregon and Southwest Washington, announced on February 25 that she would resign. She said the controversy over Planned Parenthood affected her decision, but it was not the primary cause, according to a statement on the group's website.

Dara Richardson-Heron, the head of Komen's affiliate for greater New York City, announced on the group's website she was stepping down as "a personal decision."

The recent exodus follows the resignation of Karen Handel, a senior executive charged with spearheading the decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.

Some of Komen's members have also called for the resignation of founder Nancy Brinker, who created the organization in honor of her sister, who died from breast cancer.

Komen's board said it had "complete confidence" in the group's leadership.

"This isn't about Komen. This is about women," Aun said about the charity's work. "If people understand what's at stake, they'll come back and be supportive."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/ ... 7Y20120324


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:21 am 
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Cancer's not pink

Kristen Tedder, or Tutu as she is known to friends, was never going to react to breast cancer in a conventional way. This is the performance artist whose Doris Day meets Courtney Love routine had the Gallagher brothers whooping for more at a London club in the late 1990s.

Her latest project is Punk Cancer: a visceral, disrespectful and decidedly un-pink approach to fighting breast cancer. "All the pink, fluffy breast cancer imagery didn't do it for me, so I went down a different road," Tutu explains. "I learned to love breast cancer because it's part of my body and it taught me a lot about my life. But I also wanted to kick its ass."

When we meet, Tutu, 45, is wearing a T-shirt, created with London label Earl of Bedlam. It features a stencil of herself, boldly one-breasted, and, in Never Mind the Bollocks lettering, the phrase: "Cancer Sucks: Fight it, Love it, Live it, Survive it."

The image is taken from an exhibition Tutu collaborated on with photographer Ashley Savage. Tutu was diagnosed in 2009 and the pictures, which date from that time, range from a beaming Tutu posing Bettie Page-style on a radiation table, to an anarchic hair-shaving session pre-chemo. In between, are some starker images taken when she was not feeling quite so strong.

Pink Ribbons, Inc, a Canadian documentary that is released this week in the UK, makes a similar point by taking a look at the industry that has grown around breast cancer. It features interviews with critics of the disease's "pinkification", including veteran activist Barbara Ehrenreich who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer herself. "I wish they could talk to all the women who have been through breast cancer," she says in the film. "And [I] resent the effort to make it pretty and feminine and normal. It's not normal, it's horrible."

Ironically, says the film's producer Ravida Din, breast cancer has become glamorous. "You can attach more cliches about femininity to breast cancer," Din tells me. "Moreover, it can be 'dressed up' by corporations."

In fact, the pink ribbon was originally orange. Conceived in 1990 by Charlotte Haley, a 68-year-old American, it was a grassroots protest against the fact that only 5% of the US National Cancer Institute's budget was going towards cancer prevention.

When Estée Lauder asked to use the logo for a breast-cancer awareness campaign, Haley wanted nothing to do with it, saying she had no wish for them to use the ribbon as she felt it was too commercial. So the company changed the colour to pink, because research identified it as the most non-threatening, soothing colour – everything a cancer diagnosis isn't.

Din believes that anger, used in the right way, is the way forward. "We want to provoke a new conversation around the breast cancer culture we've created," she says. "Don't just raise money and hand it over. Think about where you want to invest it. Are you OK that almost all research money is going to pharmacological research and almost none (still less than 5%) on why we get it in the first place?"

Annie Middleton, 42, believes that breast cancer awareness has reached a crossroads. She was diagnosed with it at the age of 30, when she had two young daughters. Her journey lasted a decade and included a double mastectomy then reconstruction, which was completed last year.

"When I was diagnosed I felt as if I'd already joined the pink club because someone had chosen the colour a long time ago. But it does keep some people out. I think of pink as a flesh colour, which isn't great for black women."

In 2004, Middleton organised a breast cancer awareness exhibition, Modern Amazons, that was shown at Selfridges in London. Notably, it didn't involve celebrities and instead consisted of 30 real women photographed showing their mastectomies and sharing personal stories.The billions spent on research have not been able to help Tutu. The disease has spread to her bones and she doesn't have long to live. (We learn from Pink Ribbons, Inc that metastatic breast cancer is still lamentably under-researched). But Tutu wants to change things before she goes. She thinks other women would benefit from recording the process as she did.

"They don't have to be as out there as me," she says with a chuckle. "But it really helps to let out your emotions about how you feel about it."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... sfeed=true


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:52 am 
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Chocolate egg truffles recalled

Australia's two major supermarket chains are recalling brands of chocolate eggs on the eve of the Easter long weekend.

Coles is recalling five batches of Heritage brand Belgian Milk Chocolate Egg with chocolate truffles in a 270 gram package, sold exclusively through Coles supermarkets.

The product contains almond, hazelnut and gluten but they are not listed in the ingredients due to a labelling error.

Woolworths has recalled two Macro Wholefoods Market dark chocolate lactose-free products sold at Woolworths, Safeway, Food for Less and Flemings supermarkets nationally.

The Macro Dark Chocolate Lactose Free Bunny and Macro Dark Chocolate Lactose Free Easter Egg and Twist Sweets are being recalled due to the presence of an undeclared allergen milk which occurred in a labelling error.

http://bigpondnews.com/articles/Finance ... 36753.html


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:23 am 
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Great time for a cuppa

THE Cancer Council's Australia's Biggest Morning Tea is warming up for a big season.

The first of the charity's newly designed coffee and tea mugs have just arrived in Queensland ahead of tea time next month.

May is Australia's Biggest Morning Tea time and there's never been a better excuse to grab yourself a new mug, switch the kettle on, tee up your friends, family and workmates and help tip the balance in the fight against cancer.

All funds raised from the major charity event support the organisation's vital work in cancer research, education programs and patient support services.

To take part, all you need to do is sign on to host an event during May and start planning.

Visit biggestmorningtea.com.au or call 1300 656 585 to find out more.

Last year, more than a million Australians shared a cuppa for the cause, raising close to $11 million - the best result yet.

In 2012, some of Australia's favourite foodies have come on board to share their healthy recipes, including celebrity chefs Stephanie Alexander, Poh Ling Yeow, Pete Evans, Manu Feildel, Andriano Zumo, Kylie Kwong and Queensland's own Dominique Rizzo.

Whether it's a simple morning tea with workmates, a sophisticated high tea with friends or a school bake sale, you'll be helping the one-in-two Queenslanders who will be diagnosed with cancer by age 85.

Thursday, May 24, is the official date of Cancer Council's Australia's Biggest Morning Tea.

However, morning teas can be held any time throughout May or early June.

So go on, switch the kettle on, make a cuppa and make a difference to those affected by cancer.

http://www.warwickdailynews.com.au/stor ... r-a-cuppa/


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:39 am 
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Record $15.8m raised for kids hospital

Victorians have dug deep to raise a record breaking $15 million for Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital in their Good Friday Appeal.

The midnight tally stood at $15,820,640.78 eclipsing last year's record of $15.1 million.

The appeal has received $230 million in donations from the Victorian community since it began in 1931.

Retiring Executive Director Christine Unsworth said the response had been overwhelming.

"We are over the moon. This is a amazing amount of money for the kids," she said in a statement on Saturday.

Ms Unsworth said she felt privileged to be part of the appeal over more than 16 years and thanked volunteers, donors and corporate sponsors.

"Victorians and Australians are rightly very proud of the Royal Children's Hospital and the amazing work it does and this is reflected in their generosity."

Volunteers with collecting tins hit the streets in a bid to break the record, while sport and television stars, as well as the Easter bunny, spent the day with children at the hospital who are unable to be home for Easter.

Ms Unsworth said rural and regional collectors raised $3.6 million with an online auction raising a record $147,950.

Firefighters from the CFA and MFB took part in a 24-hour relay in the CBD to help the hospital reach its goal.

Ms Unsworth said the thousands of CFA tin rattlers around the state raised $1.25 million.

Money raised from the appeal will fund state-of-the art medical equipment, ground-breaking research and scholarship opportunities.

One item high on the shopping list is a MR/PET machine, costing $8 million.

This machine combines MRI and PET scans and would be the first in a pediatric hospital anywhere in the world.

Hundreds of Victorian schools also raised money for neo-natal cots that cost $29,000 each.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/84478 ... s-hospital


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:22 am 
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‘She needs help': Bride accused of faking cancer

Touched by the story of New York bride-to-be Jessica Vega, more than a dozen people donated gifts, services and cash for her wedding to Michael O'Connell when she revealed she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Vega is now facing charges she faked terminal cancer to score a dream wedding and honeymoon.

Lisa Stoker supplied flowers for the wedding and she said she feels no anger toward Vega.

"I'm in no way saying she's guiltless, but sitting in jail isn't helping. She should get mental help, make restitution and apologise," said Ms Stoker.

An Orange County grand jury indicted Vega on six felonies - five counts of grand larceny and one count of scheming to defraud.

The maximum prison sentence for any of the felonies is four years. Vega was taken into custody on April 3 in Virginia and extradited to Orange County, where she was arraigned on Friday. She pleaded not guilty and is being held on $10,000 ($9714) cash or $30,000 ($29,144) bond in Orange County Jail.

Ms Stoker said the reason Vega allegedly lied about her diagnosis was to get Michael O'Connell, the father of their young daughter, to marry her.

"She got caught in this snowball of a lie. At that point she didn't know how to get out of it. She wanted it so badly," Ms Stoker said.

The couple have since divorced but were living together at the time of her arrest in Virginia. They now have two children together.

Keri Ciastko was one of those who helped get the charitable donations rolling for Vega. When Vega walked into Bella Couture back in 2010, Ms Ciastko noticed her short-cropped hair and need for a wedding dress in a short time. She put two and two together and started making calls.

She said she helped Vega with everything - from picking out a veil to wedding shoes. She split the costs of wedding items with her sister-in-law Rachel Taylor and pulled money out of her own bank account to help Vega, even though she had a baby on the way.

Vega said she was writing letters for her daughter as a way to give advice after she was gone. She also talked about wanting to write a diary during the supposedly small amount of time she had left.

"That's the stuff that - when I think back - that either she deserves an Oscar beyond any actress I've seen in my life, or she needs mental health treatment," Ms Taylor said.

"I still stand by my position that someone who is in their right mind doesn't concoct a story like this. I really hope she gets some sort of help."

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-n ... 6324095797


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